The soaring speculations over who will replace Vijay Rupani as Gujarat chief minister is likely to see an end as the state's BJP legislators are assembling for a meeting on Sunday, party sources said.
On Sunday morning, Narendra Singh Tomar, the central observer scheduled to attend the meeting, met state BJP chief C R Paatil. Tomar and Prahlad Joshi have been appointed as the cwntral observer by BJP for the legislature party meeting to be convened in order to elect a new chief minister.
"We have come here to hold further discussions on the issue (new chief minister). We will discuss it with state BJP leaders," Tomar said at the airport.
"I will hold consultations with Gujarat leaders, then the central leadership will take a decision," said Joshi. BJP general secretary Tarun Chaag has also reached Ahmedabad.
There is talk that Praful Khoda Patel, administrator of the union territories of Lakshadweep and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, is among the top contenders.
Also reportedly being considered are Parshottam Rupala, the Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Health Minister. Both of them also belong to the Patel or Patidar community.
The names of Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state agriculture minister RC Faldu, both from the Patel community, are also doing the rounds.
Rupani (65) on Saturday resigned from the post, his sudden announcement coming over a year before the state goes to polls.
It is not clear what prompted the development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state where elections to the 182-member Assembly are due in December 2022.
Rupani (65), the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister – his second stint as CM - in December 2017.
"I have resigned as chief minister of Gujarat,” Rupani told reporters after meeting Governor Acharya Devvrat and submitting his resignation letter.
"I was allowed to serve the state for five years. I have contributed to the development of the state. I will further do whatever is asked by my party,” said Rupani, who completed five years in office on August 7 this year.
He first became the chief minister on August 7, 2016, following the resignation of incumbent Anandiben Patel, and continued in the office after the BJP's victory in the 2017 Assembly elections.
(With PTI Inputs)